When Vail announced it was building a new gondola to replace its longtime quad-charlift (Chair 16, for all those who remember) from Vail Village to Mid Vail in honor of the resort’s 50th anniversary, the only thing more buzz-worthy than the announcement itself was the amenities that would accompany the project. Each cabin would be WiFi-equipped, and boast seat heaters for chilly days on the hill. That might seem like a pretty luxe upgrade when it comes to on-mountain transportation, but when comparing it to some of the world’s most imaginative gondola systems? Not so much. Time to kick off those ski boots, you might want the ride to the top to last a while.
Ylläs, Finland’s Sauna Gondola
The largest ski resort in Finland comes equipped with more than some of Scandinavia’s longest runs – visitors to Ylläs Sport Resort can kick back in gondola cabins outfitted with a 4-person sauna for a 20-minute ride to the top of the mountain, where a fireplace, Jacuzzi – and more saunas – await.
Switzerland’s Rotating Gondola
If you’re looking for views, look no further than Switzerland’s Stuckli Rondo Revolving Gondola, which makes two full 360 degree rotations on its 8-minute trip. There are a few other rotating gondolas, but Stuckli Rondo has the designation as being the world’s first.
China’s Luxury Gondola
One of China’s premier ski resorts, Yabuli, aims to please its top tier of clientele with a Luxury Gondola complete with VIP cabins that boast leather seats, a Bose sound system, and a mini-bar to warm up in between runs.
Austria’s BMW Gondola
Guests to Hochzillertal/Kaltenbach, Austria can opt in for the VIP experience when it comes to lift access, and book a ride on the ski resort’s BMW-inspired gondola cabins, which have been outfitted to give passengers a glimpse inside a BMW 7-series limos – complete with Champagne service as you make your way to the top.